station f, sandberg, facebook

Station F is a short and sweet name for one of the world’s biggest co-working spaces in Paris. It announced the launch of its startup campus — containing over 3,000 desks — at TechCrunch Disrupt London in December last year. And its very first launch partner ‘Facebook’ of this program has today announced the launch of its startup incubator at the location. They are also the founding partners for Station F.

Called Startup Garage, the social networking giant is debuting a six-month incubator program at the said campus in Paris. The partnership was solidified by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg alongside billionaire and Station F financier Xavier Niel, site director Roxanne Varza, and Mayor Anne Hidalgo at an event conducted this morning.

Under this partnership, Facebook plans to take up an 80 desk zone on a mezzanine at the incubator campus. Starting this April, the social media giant will bring along nearly 10-15 startups and help them grow as much as possible. The company will seat its own engineers as well as designers at the campus. These engineers will not only conduct workshops to help these budding entrepreneurs but also be helpful to the tech startups that take up other spaces at the campus.

Talking about the launch of the same, Sandberg said,

We’re thrilled to be a founding partner and start the Facebook Startup Garage here. My guess is that we’re going to learn even more from working with you than you working with us.

Paris is a capital for food, culture, but it’s also a thriving tech scene. We’re going to continue these types of investments here.

At the launch event, she also called out the name of a few startups they’ve selected for the first batch of the incubator program. These include Mapstr — a tool to bookmark your favorite places, Chekk — a tool to manage your digital identity, The Fabulous — a behavioral management app, OneClub — an advertising plus digital media firm, among other data-driven startups. Being at the said space will also provide Facebook with opportunities to court other startups for an acquisition. Here’s the live video of the event (but be ready to turn your heads to watch it):

Talking about their partnership with Facebook, the official Station F blog post reads,

While Facebook already is a huge supporter of entrepreneurship around the world (with initiatives like F8 of FBStart), this is the *first time* Facebook is investing into a physical space. And we couldn’t be more thrilled that they picked Station F to partner with.

Tech entrepreneur Xavier Niel, who plans to pump a whopping $268 million into the development of Station F, also voices his views on this partnership. He says,

We talked a lot with this ecosystem and a lot of companies decided to help us. Facebook was the first that wanted to be part of this good idea.

For those unaware, Station F will be the largest co-working and incubation space for startups in Paris after its official launch in the coming months. With its massive 34,000 sq. m. campus with nearly 3,000 desks, a freight station is being transformed into an incubator space for rent and hangout sessions. Other partners who’ve agreed to set up base at Station F include HEC Paris, French VC firms Daphni, Ventech and Xavier Niel-backed Kima Ventures.

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